At a team meeting Sunday night, Nicole Kolbas' teammates asked her what her scoring goal was at this week's Class A girls state golf tournament.
Jokingly, as her mother and coach Steph Kolbas puts it, the Lincoln Pius X junior said she wanted to break her own state record — a two-round score of 140 from last year.
It only took 18 holes into the 36-hole tournament at Norfolk Country Club for Kolbas to set another low mark.
Kolbas, who is battling a slight wrist injury, fired a Class A single-round record 67 Monday to take a two-stroke lead. Her 67 is tied for the all-class record. Doniphan-Trumbull's Danielle Lemek shot a 67 in the 2011 Class C tournament.
The previous Class A record was 69, set last year by Kolbas on her way to a 12-shot victory and first state title.
"She's always setting goals for herself, and it’s really her and the course, but she knows there's good competition out there and staying in the moment and staying patient is really key to her success," Steph Kolbas said.
Kolbas' bogey-free round including three birdies on the front nine and an eagle on the par-four 16th.
"What stood out, honestly was her patience," Steph Kolbas said. "Being patient, waiting for the putts to fall, trying to grab some birdies."
Kolbas wanted to improve her putting this season, so she worked on it for at least an hour every day at practice, her coach said. Her short game started to round in form at the right time.
"I honestly felt like after watching her at districts that she was on the cusp of something low," Steph Kolbas said. "The key word all season has been patience."
Competition has been driving the junior, too, her mother adds, and Kolbas will expect multiple challengers from a talented field Tuesday.
Omaha Westside's Kaitlyn Hanna, a two-time state champion, fired a 3-under 69 and is in second place. Lincoln Southwest's Kate Strickland (71) is third and Millard North's Katelyn Ruge (72) is fourth.
Two Lincoln teams sit atop the team standings.
Tournament favorite Lincoln Southwest shot a 309 and is in first. Lincoln East (318) is second and Millard North (323) is third.
In addition to Strickland, Southwest has two others in the top 15 — Neely Adler is tied for eighth and Tatum Terwilliger is tied for 14th.
Kaitlyn Dumler (sixth, 74) and Elly Honnens (seventh, 75) are leading the way for the Spartans.
Karmazin sisters leading Class B: Elkhorn North senior Emily Karmazin shot an even-par 72 to take a three-stroke lead over her younger sister after the first round in the Class B tournament in Scottsbluff.
Julia Karmazin, a sophomore, shot a 75. Scottsbluff sophomore Nielli Heinold (80) is third.
Elkhorn North is in a great position to sweep the titles. The Wolves shot a 335 as a team and holds a 24-shot lead over Omaha Duchesne. Defending state champion Scottsbluff (362) is third.
Arndt has edge in Class C: Columbus Scotus sophomore Cecilia Arndt shot a first-round 78 to lead a tight leaderboard in Class C at Columbus' Elks County Club.
Cozad senior Lynzi Becker (79) is second and Lincoln Christian sophomore Olivia Lovegrove (81) is third.
Columbus Scotus shot 369 as a team and sits in first place. Defending state champion Broken Bow (374) is second and Lincoln Lutheran (386) is third.
Lutheran's Rachael Volin is seeking another top-10 state finish. The senior is in sixth after firing an 85.
Reach Clark Grell at 402-473-2639 or email@example.com. On Twitter at @LJSSportsGrell.